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Dying - to tell or not to tell

(34 Posts)
absent Sun 14-Apr-13 15:44:09

I have been trying to put myself in the position of a terminally ill person – somewhere I hope I never am. Except of course we are all terminally "ill" – or at least bound to die – from the day we are born. I would feel angry about other people taking over my illness without my consent. Clearly quite enough of that happens with clinicians etc. without my family joining in too. I have managed my own life – albeit fairly sloppily – let me manage my own death. I don't think I want Victorian scenes of deathbed reconciliation thanks.

kittylester Sun 14-Apr-13 15:34:48

Hi Florence, are you new? If so, welcome, if not, I must have missed you on other threads.

I was estranged from my mother, and two brothers, for 6 years which was largely down to my Mum and I did wonder whether I would go and see her if I was told that she was dying. Luckily, it didn't come to that as I could never decide what I would do.

Although I missed my brothers during our 'hiatus' my life was quite peaceful as I didn't have mum expressing an opinion about everything from our choice of stair carpet to the fact that I prefer to wear black rather than beige. smile

Florence56 Sun 14-Apr-13 15:17:24


Have read this thread several times. Went away to think about it. I am estranged from my Father, its more his idea than mine and its not just me who is estranged. However, having thought about this I would like to know if he was dying. My arguement being that even if I chose not to do anything about it at least I had been given the choice. If I was told after the evnt I would be denied that choice. I know its a difficult subject and everyone is different - but thats just how I feel about ti.

ninathenana Sun 14-Apr-13 14:05:23

I have this dilemma with my half sister. Our mum is in a CH has dementia and is near the end of her life. My sister cut herself and her family off from the rest of us about 30yrs ago.
I thought I should tell her (we have the address) when mum was admitted to the home but my brother didn't think so.
When her name is mentioned mum pulls a face and shakes her head. So maybe he's right.

absent Sun 14-Apr-13 12:15:12

Bez I don't think you can make tentative contact although you can make contact tentatively. That's surely what's so difficult because once you have made contact, it's a fait accompli. There's no turning back. It is then down to the other party to decide whether to proceed or not. A very hard decision I would think.

Bez Sun 14-Apr-13 11:31:00

We often wonder about one of our family who estranged herself. We think maybe mental problems were the cause but no idea how things stand now. She is not married or in a relationship as far as I know and would now be retired. I have recently discovered her address and the question is do I make tentative contact?

absent Sun 14-Apr-13 10:35:27

So many issues and unknown unknowns. I have no idea where a member of my own family who has separated herself from everyone else has gone. I could probably track her down but it would take a bit of doing. Does the terminally ill person want the estranged family member told? Is the terminally ill person able to make such a request in the first place? Would the t.i. person be distressed if the estranged family member said s*d off? Would the t.i. person be infuriated that other family members have taken it upon themselves to inform the estranged one? Might the t.i. person refuse to see the estranged family member?

It must be something decided within individual families in the light of their relationships and history – in fact, it obviously would be. What would definitely not be right is for others outside the family to interfere or make judgements about the course of action chosen.

baubles Sun 14-Apr-13 10:32:11

Nanban perhaps the dying parent should be the one to decide. Who knows, the sight of the estranged child at last may make the final hours easier. The fallout for the rest of the family after the death would be another matter for them to deal with.

Nanban Sun 14-Apr-13 10:23:17

There has been a discussion on another website about whether estranged family members [sons or daughters] should be told that their parent is terminally ill.

I am of the very firm opinion that definitely not - it would be too cruel when a person is about to die, having missed so much, that the child turfs up for a deathbed reconciliation - it might make them feel better, but it makes leaving life a whole lot more difficult.